Sept 5, 2010 – Mumbai to Istanbul, Turkey
We dropped off Amma at Hyderabad and took the afternoon flight to Mumbai on the 4th. Vikesh picked us up at the airport and then started our “chaat” binge. We ate the fruit kulfis, bhelpuri and vada pav at different places and finally headed over to Vikesh’s flat. He told us about his trip to Turkey a few months earlier for a film shoot.
We slept late and woke up in the middle of the night as our flight to Istanbul was at 5.05 am. Vikesh insisted on dropping us off at the airport and we let him do it. He anyway never sleeps :).
The airport looked like the railway station. It felt as though everyone was travelling somewhere. The flight was uneventful and we landed at the Ataturk Airport, Istanbul at 9.15 am (local time). I had booked my tickets through Yatra. We had contacted Backpackers Travel (now Efendi Travels) and they were sending a car to pick us up.
Yusuf Karaca at Efendi Travels had told us to buy a SIM card at the airport as we were exiting. We found the person who was picking us up and as he drove out of the airport, we were in for a visual treat. The exit road from the Ataturk airport is lined with beautiful flower shrubs and manicured lawns. The scenery unfolding on both sides of the road as we went to the Backpackers Travel office was stunning.
We met Yusuf and quickly confirmed our sightseeing plans before heading over to our hotel. Got the first taste of Apple tea …. very nice. I had booked us at Hotel Zagreb. I didn’t realise then that we would visit the city (Zagreb, capital of Croatia) this hotel was named after, just nine years later in 2019. At the time we booked the hotel, I don’t think Krishnan or I knew about Croatia’s existence. We knew Yugoslavia was broken up into several countries but hadn’t paid much attention to which countries they were.
The room is tiny. We unpacked and settled down as this was our home for a week. We ordered some room service for lunch and went out to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow we start the tour with a city tour of Istanbul.
I plan to relive our trip to Turkey in 2010 as this year the pandemic has locked us down. This is a mental getaway :).